「虎子相まみえる」 (Torako Aimamieru)
“Audience with Torako”
A new slice of life comedy comes your way on Wednesdays with four wacky girls who can’t find their way around their new school. I was a bit surprised to find that they spent the entire first episode on this lost-at-school idea, but it turned out to be a pretty good way to introduce the four main girls in the series.
First off, we have the quiet and timid Nonomura Ayumi, who’s surprisingly played by Hirano Aya. I don’t recall Aya ever playing a character like this (if we’re going to use Haruhi and Konata as comparisons), but she does a pretty good job of it — I was impressed at least. Second, we have the serious and seemingly straight-headed Iizuka Tatsuki played by Neya Michiko, who does a good job giving us those comedic reactions you’d expect from a normal person. Third, we have the quiet yet intriguing Saotome Suzume, who’s played by the less-popular Ochiai Yurika, but her character’s already grown on me the most. Last but not least, we have the over-the-top, loose-cannon star of the series, Kageyama Torako, played by Orikasa Fumiko, who I find does an awesome portrayal of such roles. She has that deep voice she uses for Rukia in BLEACH, but if you’ve seen her in Ichigo Mashimaro, you’ll probably know how much of a riot she was there. Speaking of which, Hyakko reminds me of an older (character) version of Ichigo Mashimaro, which I absolutely loved, so hopefully it’ll turn out to be a pretty good comedy this season — the first episode gives me a lot of hope. We’ll just have to see how the other 12 episodes (13 total slated) turn out.
With that said, Torako definitely drives the comedy in this series, as her sudden appearance here made everything much more hilarious, starting off with her jumping out of a second floor window and rolling her ankle. I simply couldn’t help but laugh there, much like when she totally knocked out her soon-to-be-teacher Amagasa Kyouichirou for witnessing her break a window. Supporting cast is top notch as well, with Horie Yui, Kuwashima Houko, Yoshino Hiroyuki, and Fujiwara Keiji (as Kyouichirou) being the most prominent in my eyes. Ogawa Mana also seems to have a small role, who performs the opening “Suppin Rock” song. The ending theme, “Namida Namida Namida”, is performed by Hirano Aya and sounds a lot better than some of the songs on her RIOT GIRL album. Production quality is impressive, with clean, sharp lines that make good use of high-definition, and the animation looks fluid from what I’ve seen. Even distant shots looked good, which I find is a rarity nowadays. In short, I had no complaints and was very pleased, so hopefully they can maintain this quality throughout. If they do, it looks like we might have a winner here.
– Kageyama Torako (上下山 虎子) : Orikasa Fumiko (折笠 富美子)
– Saotome Suzume (早乙女 雀) : Ochiai Yurika (落合 祐里香)
– Iidzuka Tatsuki (伊井塚 龍姫) : Neya Michiko (根谷 美智子)
– Nonomura Ayumi (能々村 歩巳) : Hirano Aya (平野 綾)
– Andou Nene (杏藤 子々) : Fujita Masayo (藤田 昌代)
– Makunouchi Ushio (幕之内 潮) : Kaida Yuuko (甲斐田 裕子)
– Kobayashi Koma (古囃 独楽) : Igarashi Hiroko (五十嵐 浩子)
– Suzugasaki Chie (涼ヶ崎 知恵) : Horie Yui (堀江 由衣)
– Tsubomiya Inori (蕾家 祈) : Satou Satomi (佐藤 聡美)
– Ooba Minato (大場 湊兎) : Nakase Asuka (中世 明日香)
– Kazamatsuri Touma (風茉莉 冬馬) : Kuwashima Houko (桑島 法子)
– Nikaidou Hitsugi (弐街道 火継) : Ogawa Mana (小川 真奈)
– Sengoku Shishimaru (戦国 獅々丸) : Takahashi Kenji (高橋 研二)
– Kyougoku Yanagi (京極 柳) : Kousaka Atsushi (髙坂 篤志)
– Kageyama Kitsune (上下山 狐) : Yoshino Hiroyuki (吉野 裕行)
– Kageyama Oniyuri (上下山 鬼百合) : Kasahara Hiroko (笠原 弘子)
– Amagasa Kyouichirou (傘 叶一狼) : Fujiwara Keiji (藤原 啓治)
– Nishizono Taiga (西園 大河) : Chafuurin (茶風林)